The road to Creed III has been paved with questionable decisions along the way. The elephant in the room with MGM’s latest film in the Rocky spin-off series is the fact that Sylvester Stallone is nowhere to be seen. For the first time in this historic nine-film franchise, Stallone was not involved in the movie’s production process.
Behind the scenes, Stallone had a falling out with the producers of the Rocky series who seemed more interested in moving on without Stallone considering he doesn’t own the rights to the series.
The second questionable decision was the call to make the star of the series Michael B. Jordan the director of the third film without any prior directing experience.
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Sprinkling in the element of booking Jonathan Majors, Hollywood’s new favorite actor in the role of the antagonist, the intrigue about the movie was how this whole thing was going to come together.
With so many head-scratching decisions, Creed III has no business being as good as it is while admitting that there are plenty of storytelling flaws along the way.
The film takes place a few years after the events of Creed II where Adonis Creed (Jordan) has a rematch against “Pretty” Ricky Conlan, his nemesis from the first movie in South Africa. After defeating Conlan, Creed opts to retire from the sport citing age and injuries.
Thriving in his post-fight career, Creed runs into his old childhood friend and former boxer Damian “Dame” Anderson (Majors) who is fresh out from an 18-year sentence.
Dame took the fall for a gun charge saving Creed and now he is back with a drive to become world champion at all costs. Dame’s quest for glory puts him on a collision course for a face-off between former friends to decide who is the true king of Los Angeles. The character of Dame presents a moral dilemma for Creed struggling with the consequences of his past.
It goes without saying that there’s a lot of Hollywood hype behind Jonathan Majors right now. While everyone in the media is ranting and raving about his portrayal as Kang the Conqueror in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Major’s best performance this year is going to come from Creed III.
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While Majors puts in his best performance of the year, the star of this film in more ways than one is Michael B. Jordan. His portrayal of Creed is solid, looking past the fact that he’s pretty small for a heavyweight. But the real test for Jordan was his chops as a director.
Jordan’s directing style is pretty by the numbers for someone who is learning the process, meaning that you don’t see too much artistic expression up until the very end. The third act of the film, which is the climax of the boxing match, took some inspiration from famous anime series such as Dragon Ball Z as Jordan attempts to create an epic battle between foes.
While the third act is something different, it may be a bit too different for audiences in the third film of a trilogy.
That brings us to the flaws of the film. The problem isn’t Jordan’s direction but the overall story itself. Creed III is full of logical errors, plot holes, and conveniences that wouldn’t work in the realistic setting that this world tries to present.
The idea that a criminal off the streets could main event a boxing match at Staples Center for the heavyweight championship in his first professional fight is too unbelievable to be true despite the film’s efforts trying to make sense of how it happened.
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Not even in a corrupt place like California would their Athletic Commission license a man who hasn’t had a professional boxing match in his life fresh out of prison to compete for the heavyweight championship.
Even Conor McGregor, who was a two-division UFC champion had hurdles to jump over to get licensed to fight Floyd Mayweather. They should have taken time to flesh out Dame to be believable and that error falls on the film’s screenwriters.
The film also sets up a whole new franchise. Don’t be surprised if we see a film trilogy about Creed’s daughter who is a disabled black girl because those seeds have already been planted in the movie.
One of the reasons why Sylvester Stallone was squeezed out of the franchise is due to the fact that the producers wanted to create a universe that no longer needs Rocky as a centerpiece.
The best way to describe Creed III is enjoyable but uneventful. This film could have been a lot worse but the film series has run out of gas as far as intrigue. Creed has not won over the hearts of audiences the way that Rocky had and this series doesn’t have any more tricks up his sleeves to win people over.
Creed III is a solid effort in an emotional story but doesn’t afford anything that could be considered a must-see.
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- Jonathan Majors As Dame
- Michael B. Jordan Solid Directorial Debut
- Solid Emotional Story
- Inconsistent Storytelling
- Unrealistic Scenarios
- Novice Filmmaking Across The Board